Former De La Salle soccer player, Woods resident takes his game to the NCAA
GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing a freshman college athlete is making the adjustment from being one of the focal points of your high school squad to trying to find a place on your new team.
And while it may have been hard to know exactly what to expect when he stepped on the soccer field for Albion College, former Warren De La Salle student-athlete Steven Lockhart thinks his transition into Division III soccer has been a smooth one. While he has noticed a difference in the speed and physical play at the college level, Lockhart has been pleased with how he has adjusted.
And aside from crediting the preparation he received while at De La Salle, Lockhart, whose hometown is Grosse Pointe Woods, also offered some other ideas as to what the keys have been to making it as far as the NCAA level.
“Put in the work when no one’s watching is the biggest thing,” he said. “Get yourself in shape — get in the weight room. You have to get touches in snow, in the rain. You have to do things that others don’t want to do.”
Having support from teammates can go a long way toward helping make the transition to college athletics easier, and Lockhart thinks he has gotten just that from team captains Kurt Miller, Sean Bartoshuk and Charlie Micunek. Lockhart also credits the support he has received from his family, as well as coaches, such as De La Salle’s Reid Friedrichs, and Jack McBride, who was his club coach, for helping him come as far as he has.
It also helps to have your current coach in your corner, and Albion’s Jerry Block, who is in his 14th season at the helm, has been pleased with what he has seen from his freshman.
“He’s contributed a lot already,” he said. “I knew he was a good player when I recruited him. He stepped right in and has played outstanding from day one. I’m really impressed. He’s playing much more like a junior than he is a freshman. From where he’s starting now, he’s really got a bright future ahead of him.”
The early success Lockhart is having at Albion isn’t likely to come as much of a surprise to Friedrichs, who was his coach his senior year at De La Salle.
“He was our leader,” Friedrichs said. “He was a captain. He was our most talented player with the ball; our most versatile player, playing two and three different positions. He brought everything a coach really wants from a player — the leader on the field, playing different positions, and a lot of talent with that.”
While Lockhart has been enjoying his time at Albion, he also has fond memories of suiting up for the Pilots, including a game in which he assisted on a goal scored by his best friend and teammate Brendan O’Neill, which tied a game against Birmingham Brother Rice with approximately three minutes remaining on the clock.
Lockhart would also like to make some positive memories at Albion, both academically and athletically, and he is not exactly thinking small when it comes to his goals.
“As a student, get (above a) 3.5 GPA,” he said. “I’m a student first and an athlete second at Albion; that’s what I like. And then for soccer, make it to the tournament — win the MIAA (Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association). (You have to) win the MIAA to make it to the tournament.”
Lockhart said he is leaning toward majoring in secondary education, and aside from accomplishing goals while he is at school, his time at Albion can also help him achieve ambitions he has for the future.
“A soccer coach and a high school teacher,” Lochhart said of his future goals. “Just have to look around for those. A high school teacher is the best job that fits with being a coach, with the hours and everything.”